AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 24: Tyrone May of the Panthers in action during the round 24 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Penrith Panthers at Mt Smart Stadium on August 24, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Former Penrith Panthers' utility Tyrone May might have signed a deal with the Catalan Dragons for 2022 to save his rugby league career, but a shock revelation could see him return to the NRL in 2023.

It was widely believed that May's time in the NRL was as good as done following a tumultuous year off-field.

He might have played in the premiership-winning Penrith Panthers outfit, but was unceremoniously dumped by the club following the grand final.

His contract with Catalan - where he will join Mitchell Pearce and Dylan Napa as the club's new recruits - will see him continue to play top flight rugby league in 2022.

But it has now emerged, according to a Wide World of Sports report, that May could return to the Panthers in 2023 as part of the club's strategy to replace Apisai Koroisau, who recently signed with the Wests Tigers on a new two-year deal.

Penrith's salary cap is a large part of the reason the club have been unable to hang onto either Koroisau or Viliame Kikau, who is set to be announced by the Canterbury Bulldogs in the coming days following the leaking of him wearing a Bulldogs' club shirt alongside Trent Barett and Phil Gould.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 20: Apisai Koroisau of the Panthers looks on during a Penrith Panthers NRL training session at Panthers Stadium on October 20, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

A Penrith source reportedly told the publication that May could head back to Penrith in 2023 as he will have served his punishment.

"He had to go after a series of breaches but there is a feeling that he will have served his punishment with a year away from his mates," the source told the publication.

"Tyrone has made some mistakes but he is still young and he will have learned from this.

"He is an extremely popular member of the group and the boys want him back."

Head coach Ivan Cleary is clearly a fan of May. Despite a perceived lack of form, mainly from the bench, during the 2021 season, May played a vast majority of matches for the side.

He finished at the Panthers with a total of 56 games between 2017 and 2021, with the 25-year-old likely to start in the halves alongside Pearce at Catalan in 2022 where he could take his game to another level in the same way players like Jackson Hastings (who has signed with the Tigers) have done since moving to England.

SALFORD, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10: Jackson Hastings of Salford Red Devils celebrates scoring his try with his teammates during the Betfred Super League match between Salford Red Devils and London Broncos at AJ Bell Stadium on February 10, 2019 in Salford, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Adding to the Panthers' woes in replacing Koroisau is the fact very few top line hookers remain on the market for 2023. With Brandon Smith, Reed Mahoney and Koroisau all snapped up, the only genuine starting options remaining are Jake Turpin, Josh Hodgson and Tom Starling, and with limited funds available, the Panthers may be forced to get creative in replacing the two-time premiership winner.

1 COMMENT

  1. Please tell me Penrith are not stupid enough to bring this guy back as hooker🤦‍♂️, let alone bring him back at all.
    They say they have no money in the cap but considering they are not resigning Kikau or Api they must have some. Especially after Fletcher was confidant of resigning both of them.

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